Tag Archive: Allen Bailey


Scouting Report:

Allen Bailey has a lot of potential, but I don't think he is an impact player and I personally think he is one of the more overrated prospects in the country.

Positives: Great combination of size, athletic ability and strength. Has pretty incredible weight room numbers and is very strong for the DE position, also strong for the DT position. Seems to have an impressive work ethic because you don’t get that strong without a lot of drive to lift. Bailey was productive at Miami and showed some ability as a pass rusher as a senior. Has shown the ability to get the edge at times in college and is strong enough to bull rush his man to collapse the pocket. Has some burst off the line of scrimmage as a pass rusher and his long arms help keep blockers off of him. Plays with good pad level consistently and is tough to push off the ball because of his pad level and his great strength both in his upper and lower body. Seems to have a pretty good motor for backside pursuit and is a solid tackler, occasionally flashing some pop as a hitter. Will get his hands up in passing lanes.

Negatives: For all the talk of Bailey’s great strength it really does not translate as well as you might think it does. The most alarming part of Bailey’s game is his hand usage which is borderline non-existent. He struggles mightily to shed blocks from quality offensive linemen and can be walled off in the running game by an technically sound block from a tight end, even if Bailey outweighs him. Lance Kendricks has done this to him multiple times at the Champs Bowl and again in the Senior Bowl game. He simply can’t get off blocks and stays blocked far too much, and that seriously limits his potential as a playmaker and makes it tough to project him to a defensive line position in the NFL because a man with his size and skill set is either going to be a LE or a DT in a 4-3 or a DE in a 3-4. He just doesn’t have the speed to get the edge consistently enough that he can coast on his athleticism without being able to use his hands. He also doesn’t offer much as a pass rusher, getting a number of his sacks as a result of effort rather than technique, and aside from a speed rush and a bull rush he has no pass rush moves. He is regularly the last one off of the line of scrimmage on Miami’s defensive front and this inconsistency off the snap limits his chances of getting the edge in college, much less the NFL. I’m not sure he has great instincts to read and react when defending the run, and because he doesn’t fight off blocks well he struggles to set the edge as a run defender and rarely is able to stack and shed to wrap up a defender when he runs by him in the hole. Doesn’t break down and wrap up well, but that isn’t particularly surprising considering his size. Doesn’t have much closing speed to gun down a quarterback or ball carrier when he has them in his sights.

Overall: I have long considered Allen Bailey an athletic freak who is overrated as a football player and nothing I have seen from him this year has dissuaded me from thinking that way. If anything it has made me more confident in my assessment of him. I am very conflicted when projecting him to the NFL however, because I have made the mistake of writing off athletic freaks with pretty good work ethics before when it is not impossible for them to improve on some of their flaws and I refuse to do that with Bailey. Hand usage can be coached up, and it’s unfortunate that he hasn’t learned how to use his hands during his career at Miami, but he can still learn. The question becomes how well he can learn to use them, how quickly he can pick it up, and how much more effective it makes him. Will he be able to be a quality pass rusher at LE if he improves his hand usage substantially? That I cannot say. His questionable edge speed makes me doubt that he will ever be a significant threat as a pass rusher at LE, but he would be a much better player at LE, DT or 3-4 DE if he learned to use his hands to keep blockers off of him as a pass rusher and if he learned to shed blocks more consistently as a run defender. A guy with his size and strength should be able to bully almost any blocker one on one but he is getting taken out of plays one on one by tight ends. That level of technique is unacceptable and that is why I am so skeptical of him. However, he definitely has ability and while I think he is a complete boom or bust player there is definitely a chance that he could end up being on the “boom” side if he can learn how to use his hands. But that’s a big if even if it is coachable because I can’t accurately speak for his work ethic, and that hurts his stock a lot in my opinion.

Projection: 3rd round. I could see him going earlier than this, but that would be based off of potential and workout numbers, not off of his actual technique and NFL-readiness. In the mid-3rd round I think he would warrant a flier because he has the ability to be a quality NFL player, he just needs a lot of coaching up and technique work. That makes him intriguing but also very risky.

SKILLS:
1-poor, 2-weak, 3-above average, 4-very good, 5-elite

Strength: 4.0
Quickness: 3.0
Pass Rush: 2.5
Point of Attack: 2.5
Recognition: 2.0
Motor: 2.5

Thanks for reading!

–Tom

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Player Name – College – Height(Feet,inches,/8′s) – Weight

Quarterbacks

Andy Dalton – TCU – 6020 – 213
Colin Kaepernick – Nevada – 6045 – 225
Jake Locker – Washington – 6022 – 228
Greg McElroy – Alabama – 6016 – 222
Christian Ponder – Florida State – 6021 – 222
Ricky Stanzi – Iowa – 6041 – 221

Running Backs

Anthony Allen – Georgia Tech – 5116 – 223
Noel Devine – West Virginia – 5070 – 160
Charles Clay – Tulsa – 6031 – 239
Roy Helu Jr. – Nebraska – 5113 – 216
Kendall Hunter – Oklahoma St. – 5072 – 199
Derrick Locke – Kentucky – 5081 – 186
Owen Marecic– Stanford – 6003 – 246
DeMarco Murray – Oklahoma – 6000 – 214
Bilal Powell – Louisville – 5103 – 204
Da’Rel Scott – Maryland – 5107 – 205

Wide Receivers

Vincent Brown – San Diego St. – 5110 – 184
Edmund Gates – Abilene Christian – 5115 – 189
Leonard Hankerson – Miami – 6015 – 205
Dwayne Harris – ECU – 5097 – 200
Ronald Johnson – USC – 5111 – 186
Jeremy Kerley – TCU – 5092 – 188
Niles Paul – Nebraska – 6007 – 225
Austin Pettis – Boise State – 6024 – 205
Greg Salas – Hawaii – 6011 – 206
Courtney Smith – South Alabama – 6040 – 220
Titus Young – Boise State – 5112 – 174

Tight Ends

Preston Dial – Alabama – 6021 – 238
Lance Kendricks – Wisconsin – 6031 – 240
Mike McNeill – Nebraska – 6036 – 232
Lee Smith – Marshall – 6057 – 269
Luke Stocker – Tennessee – 6047 – 255
D.J. Williams – Arkansas – 6017 – 236

Offensive Tackles

Clint Boling – Georgia – 6047 – 310
James Brewer – Indiana – 6062 – 323
Gabe Carimi – Wisconsin – 6071 – 315
James Carpenter – Alabama – 6046 – 313
Anthony Castanzo – Boston College – 6071 – 305
Marcus Gilbert – Florida – 6064 – 329
DeMarcus Love – Arkansas – 6045 – 318
Derek Sherrod – Miss. St. – 6055 – 312
Nate Solder – Colorado – 6082 – 314
Lee Ziemba – Auburn – 6060 – 317

Guards/Centers

Brandon Fusco – Slippery Rock – 6041 – 302
Rodney Hudson – Florida State – 6022 – 291
Jake Kirkpatrick – TCU – 6022 – 301
Kevin Kowalski – Toledo – 6031 – 300
John Moffitt – Wisconsin – 6040 – 314
Kris O’Dowd – USC – 6042 – 303
Jason Pinkston – Pittsburgh – 6033 – 313
Stephen Schilling – Michigan – 6042 – 302
Danny Watkins – Baylor – 6034 – 312

Defensive Ends

Sam Acho – Texas – 6016 – 257
Pierre Allen – Nebraska – 6037 – 273
Allen Bailey – Miami – 6032 – 278
Christian Ballard – Iowa – 6041 –  288
Jeremy Beal – Oklahoma – 6023 – 268
Cameron Jordan – California – 6041 – 287
Ryan Kerrigan – Purdue – 6037 – 255
Pernell McPhee – Miss. St. – 6027 – 274
Brooks Reed – Arizona – 6024 – 257

Defensive Tackles

Sione Fua – Stanford – 6016 – 307
Jarvis Jenkins – Clemson – 6037 – 309
Chris Neild – West Virginia – 6017 – 313
Stephen Paea – Oregon St. – 6011 – 295
Phil Taylor – Baylor – 6034 – 337
Cedrick Thornton – Southern Arkansas – 6035 – 299
Ian Williams – Notre Dame – 6013 – 311

Linebackers

Josh Bynes – Auburn – 6013 – 239
Mason Foster – Washington – 6011 – 241
Mark Herzlich – Boston College – 6035 – 250
Ross Homan – Ohio State – 6003 – 229
Nate Irving – NC State – 6012 – 242
Greg Jones – Michigan State – 5117 – 240
Casey Matthews – Oregon – 6006 – 232
Colin McCarthy – Miami – 6012 – 235
Von Miller – Texas A&M – 6025 – 237
Kelvin Shepperd – LSU – 6021 – 250
Chris White – Miss. St. – 6027 – 244
Lawrence Wilson – Connecticut – 6006 – 225
K.J. Wright – Miss. St. – 6031 – 246

Defensive Backs

Ahmad Black – Florida – 5093 – 183
Curtis Brown – Texas – 5115 – 180
Jalil Brown – Colorado – 6002 – 202
Kendric Burney – North Carolina – 5090 – 181
Rashad Carmichael – Virgina Tech – 5095 – 185
Quinton Carter – Oklahoma – 6005 – 211
Zac Etheridge – Auburn – 5114 – 201
Marcus Gilchrist – Clemson – 5097 – 193
Jaiquawn Jarrett – Temple – 5117 – 196
Joseph Lefeged – Rutgers – 5112 – 208
Curtis Marsh – Utah State – 6001 – 194
DeAndre McDaniel – Clemson – 6001 – 213
Johnny Patrick – Louisville – 5104 – 185
Da’Norris Searcy – North Carolina – 5105 – 216
Richard Sherman – Stanford –
DeMarcus Van Dyke – Miami – 6006 – 168
Shareece Wright – USC – 5110 – 182

Long Snappers

Danny Aiken – Virginia – 6044 – 246
Christian Yount – UCLA – 6000 – 241

Kickers/Punters

Kai Forbath – UCLA – 5105 – 191
Ale Henery – Nebraska – 6011 – 178
Chas Henry – Florida – 6033 – 220
Josh Jasper – LSU – 5100 – 173

Information courtesy of http://www.sidelinescouting.com/

Some interesting stuff in here. But as we all know there is a lot more to a player than their size. It will be very fun to see how some of these guys do this week. I am particularly interested in how Lance Kendricks, Allen Bailey and of course all the QB’s do. Especially Ponder and Locker because of their relatively disappointing seasons this year. Hopefully Ponder is healthy enough to throw, but if he’s not he should just drop out and get healthy.

Can’t wait to see how this week turns out. I won’t be there unfortunately but I hope (and plan) to go next year. I will definitely watch the game and post notes on it after I re-watch it. I am working on transcribing my interviews from my week at the East-West Shrine game and also on a “Winners and Losers” post reviewing the game and the week overall. That should be up in the next day or two hopefully. The interviews will take a while though.

Thanks for reading and happy Senior Bowl week!

–Tom

I thought I would put together a list of overrated and underrated players and give my thoughts on them. Hopefully you enjoy the list and feel free to comment if you agree or disagree! Enjoy!

Overrated:

Locker has had a slow start to the season, and I don't think he is going to be able to live up to the pre-season hype and the comparisons to John Elway and Steve Young.

-Jake Locker, QB, Washington- Like I said at the beginning of the season, I don’t think Locker will be able to live up to the crazy hype that has involved him being compared to John Elway and Steve Young. He has had a relatively slow start to the year and he had an absolutely horrible game against a very good Nebraska defense. Needless to say, if Mallett has a good game against Alabama he will probably move up ahead of Locker on most QB rankings. I like Locker, but he has things to improve on like every other QB and it will be hard for him to take the same leaps and bounds that he did during the season last year. I think he will be the second or third QB drafted depending on whether Luck comes out or not and on how Ponder does this season.

-Dion Lewis, RB, Pittsburgh- He has had a very slow start to the season, and though he has been running against teams playing 8 and 9 men at the box at times he still hasn’t looked like the same runner as last year to me. He hasn’t shown me much patience as a runner, and doesn’t seem to have much of a burst to hit the hole right now. His back-up, Graham, looked much more effective against Miami and really showed the burst to hit the hole and gain good yardage. I’m not saying Lewis isn’t a good running back, far from it, but he had one of the great seasons ever as a freshman last year and expectations were unbelievably high this year, and I think he has really underwhelmed so far.

Julio Jones has a lot of potential, but he hasn't shown the consistency that is more characteristic of high first round picks, especially those with his skill set.

-Julio Jones, WR, Alabama- Julio Jones is an incredible athlete and has a ton of potential, but I think he is only scratching the surface of his potential at this point. I think he is one of those players who could be much better in the NFL than he was in college, but that is just my opinion. He hasn’t shown a lot of consistency in his time at Alabama, and though he can make some great catches and plays I would like to see him make plays more regularly. Part of this has to do with Alabama’s rather average QB play during his time here, but he should still be making plays despite that. Calvin Johnson always managed to. It will be interesting to see if he makes me a believer this year and shows a lot more consistency, but as of right now I think he is overrated by a lot of people because he was so highly recruited out of high school. He absolutely has NFL potential though. I just worry that he may be one of those boom/bust types because he will either get it in the NFL and be a very good receiver or he will remain a great physical specimen that doesn’t play up to his potential.

-Greg Romeus, DE, Pittsburgh- I know Romeus is hurt right now, so his stock will probably come down a bit, but I don’t get all the love for this guy. Yes he puts up some nice sack numbers and he has good potential as a pass rusher, but I literally watched him get effectively blocked in 1 on 1 match-ups with TE’s against BUFFALO last year. I’m sure he has developed since then, but I haven’t had a chance to see him play this year so I have to assume that he hasn’t developed considerably better hand usage and block shedding ability. So under that assumption I have to say he is very overrated. If he can’t play the run and get off blocks from college TE’s then how is he going to be a NFL starter at RE and stand up to starting caliber LT’s in the NFL that are at least solid at run blocking? There isn’t any way. Until I see him play the run better, shed blocks better and also flash some serious pass rush ability (essentially more than just a good speed rush/edge rush) then he will be very overrated in my opinion.

Allen Bailey has a lot of potential, but I don't think he is an impact player and I personally think he is one of the more overrated prospects in the country.

-Allen Bailey, DE/DT, Miami- I’m not sure there is a player in the country more overrated than Allen Bailey in my opinion. He looks awful every time I watch him play. He is a physical freak, he has great weight room numbers, and he looks like a good football player when you see him standing somewhere, but he doesn’t play well. Yes, he can get the occasional sack on a pass rush and yes he will make the occasional tackle versus the run, but I have watched him get blocked 1 on 1 by Lance Kendricks, Garrett Graham and other offensive lineman (Kendricks and Graham are both TE’s by the way) and I have seen them take him out of the play completely versus the run. Now, Bailey’s body type and skill set makes me think his best fit will be at 3-4 DE on the next level. I don’t think he has the edge speed or the quick-twitch pass rush ability to play DE in a 4-3, and I think that 4-3 DT would be his second best position behind 3-4 DE. However, he can’t shed a block to save his life. He has very bad hand usage, he is routinely the last player off the line and doesn’t have good burst off of the line of scrimmage, he doesn’t have a very good motor from what I have seen, and he doesn’t make impact plays versus the run. Not to mention every time he gets double-teamed he gets completely washed out of the play despite his great strength (which is a serious issue for a 3-4 DE prospect and a 4-3 DT prospect even if the guy is going to play under tackle in that scheme). I watched Pittsburgh’s offensive line double him and by the end of the play he was so far downfield that he when the offensive lineman still blocking him shoved him as he was giving up on the play he was no longer in the camera shot when the tackle was made. Bailey is so overrated it is ridiculous, and I wouldn’t pick him before the 4th or 5th round if I was a GM.

-Marvin Austin, DT, UNC- He might not be overrated for long, but when people talk about him as a 1st round pick I think they are talking about his potential more than his actual performance. He has the potential to be an absolute dominant DT, but I have been waiting for well over three years to see that player and I haven’t seen it yet, and I may never see it at North Carolina because he might not even play this year. He has so much ability and so much potential, but he just hasn’t lived up to it as a Tar Heel. To me he is a boom/bust guy, and I would definitely think he is more likely to be a bust than a boom player if he doesn’t get to play all year. But that is just me. Guys like Austin really scare me as NFL prospects because they have a lot of ability, so you pick them earlier than you probably should, and more times than not (in my opinion) they end up being a waste of a high NFL Draft selection.

Harris has potential, but I'm not sure he will ever live up to it, especially not in the NFL.

-Jacory Harris, QB, Miami- Harris is a guy that I have higher expectations for, but I don’t think he will ever live up to them. To do that he would have to put more zip on his passes and cut out his bad habit of putting so much touch on his throws, but he has continued to do it this year and I think the glitz surrounding his game and being the Miami QB has started to fade, and people are seeing him for who he really is. He’s a good college QB, but he’s not going to be a good NFL QB in my opinion. He is rail thin, he doesn’t seem very tough to me, he doesn’t look like a good leader, he doesn’t make good decisions under pressure, he forces throws into coverage and continues to make bad decisions, plus his passes have too much touch on them regardless of where he is throwing them on the field. So to me, Harris is overrated and has been for a while, but maybe he won’t be for long if he keeps throwing interceptions.

Underrated:

Greg Jones is one of my favorite linebacker prospects in the country, if not my favorite.

-Greg Jones, ILB, Michigan State- Jones is a fantastic linebacker and whether he plays inside or outside on the next level I would be absolutely shocked if he doesn’t become a very good player. He is a great tackler, he has great instincts and even though he isn’t the biggest guy he supports the run well and is good in coverage. He is as good a linebacker as there is in the entire country in my opinion, yet he gets almost no press. He should get a lot more of the spotlight as the season comes to a close and the post-season activities start. I have a feeling he will show up big in the senior bowl barring an unfortunate injury.

-Brandon Saine, RB, Ohio State- I have really liked Saine since last year when he was competing for PT with Herron in Ohio State’s backfield, but I think he has an opportunity to break out this year. He had a very pedestrian stat-line against Miami, but I haven’t watched that game yet to see how he managed only 7 yards on 12 carries. Regardless, I like him as a running back and I am excited to see how he does the rest of the season. Hopefully he shows up big for the Buckeyes since he is one of my sleepers for this senior class.

-Ronald Johnson, WR, Southern Cal- Johnson isn’t the biggest receiver, but I like him as a potential sleeper this year. He might be too well known for that, but considering his past production I don’t think it is too far out of the question. Regardless, he has already surpassed his total for touchdowns from last season (he had 3 last year and already has 4 this year) and he has looked good in the time that I have seen him this year. He is definitely underrated in my opinion, and I am really excited to see how he does against better Pac-10 competition.

Derrick Locke is a great sleeper prospect, and I am really excited to see how he fares in the SEC this year.

-Derrick Locke, RB, Kentucky- Locke is one of my favorite sleepers and he seems to be having a good season this year. He already has 372 yards (including a 6.1 ypc average) and 5 td’s, plus 8 catches for    60 yards. He already has 69 touches on offense in three games for over 430 yards and 5 scores, so he is definitely a key cog in Kentucky’s offense. He is similar to Dexter McCluster in that way to me, because McCluster was the engine that made Mississippi’s offense go last year, and Locke is that same guy for Kentucky. I really like Locke, and I think he has the ability to be drafted in the 3rd or 4th round in the draft this year.

-Randall Cobb, WR, Kentucky- Cobb has superstar written all over him in my opinion. He might not be the biggest, the fastest or the strongest, but the guy is a straight-up playmaker. He has 160 yards receiving (2 TD’s), 108 yards rushing (1 TD), 65 yards on punt returns (on 10 returns, 50 of which came on one touchdown return), plus 5 KR’s for 103 yards… he even has 2 completions as a passer (2/2 actually) for 34 yards and a score. He has a touchdown as a receiver, a passer, a rusher and as a return man… He is so versatile. I can’t wait to see him play against some SEC competition, because if he can make a couple big plays against those defenses then he can make a play against anybody.

I think that about does it for my list of overrated/underrated players. I think this is definitely a solid list, let me know if what you would have done differently or what you agree or disagree with!

Thanks for reading!

–Tom

First of all, I apologize profusely for the huge gap between this post and my last post, which was close to three weeks ago. My computer had a bunch of viruses on it and apparently the hard drive was about to break (which Geek Squad said was probably caused by bumping or dropping it, woops!) so I got it fixed, it took about a week, and I now have Windows 7 instead of Vista and I just installed Microsoft Office 2007 about an hour ago before I finished writing this up (since I couldn’t read any of my notes before that because I didn’t have Microsoft Word on my laptop. It was a pretty serious issue. I also couldn’t watch tape all that time!) Anyways, between my laptop breaking and not having Microsoft Office I had a long unintentional break between my posts, so thank you for bearing with me and occasionally checking my blog out to see if I had gotten my act together and written anything! Here, at long last, is my post about the Wisconsin-Miami Champs Bowl game from last season!

Harris is talented both as a runner and as a passer, but he needs to learn to put more zip on his throws if he is going to legitimize himself as a NFL prospect.

When you watch Miami games Jacory Harris is a guy you just have to take notes on. He’s a very talented guy, he’s a good quarterback and he’s a threat to run, and those players are always intriguing and they always warrant a lot of discussion and projection, especially if they mature throughout their careers, learn to make better decisions, read defenses, and generally just become more efficient. An efficient QB who can run when all else fails and pick up quality yards is scary, which is why Mike Vick was the #1 overall pick in 2001. Little did we all know that you can’t just learn to throw accurately, make good decisions and read defenses from the pocket once you get to the NFL, but he was picked that high because if he became as good at throwing as he was at running he would have been one of the best players in the NFL. Anyways, Harris warrants discussion for a number of reasons. He has pretty good accuracy, and does a respectable job of reading defenses for a young quarterback and showed the ability to recognize a blitz and find his hot read quickly to avoid a sack and to pick up quality yards. That’s good to see.

However, Harris really seemed to struggle in this game. He does not strike me as a tough quarterback at all, and at times he would run timidly and does not seem at all willing to take a hit even if it means picking up the first down. I know you don’t want your quarterback running around initializing contact, but when he’s scrambling and he can either run out of bounds two yards short of the first down marker or put his head down and get as many yards as possible, I want my QB to put his head down and go for it, not run out of bounds with his tail between his legs. Maybe that’s just me, but that’s how I feel about it. Harris seems to prefer jogging out of bounds, and I don’t really like to see that. He also seemed bothered by the cold, but that wasn’t just a problem for him, the whole Miami team was huddled around the heaters and it was only 50 or 55 degrees outside. The Wisconsin players all had short sleeves on, mostly because in the Winter it gets real cold up north, so 50+ is t-shirt weather to those of us from Minnesota and Wisconsin. So between his timid running style and the fact that he seemed to be bothered by the “cold” I was not very happy with how Harris did in this game from a toughness aspect. He did take some shots and he popped right back up from all of them, but that just confused me more because you’d think that if he could absorb the hits he was taking when he was dropping back to pass that he could “suck it up” (so to speak) and run harder when he does scramble.

Harris never got comfortable against Wisconsin. Whether it was his ankle injury, the regular pressure from Wisconsin or the "cold" weather, he never settled in and got into a rhythm.

One thing that is a little alarming about Harris’ game is the amount of touch and air he puts under the majority of his throws. He throws an accurate ball and does great when touch is required, but sometimes you need to throw the ball with some zip and he does not seem to understand when that is necessary. He floats a LOT of passes, whether he is on the run, whether he has his feet set in the pocket, or whether he is throwing into a quickly closing window over the middle. I don’t know if that is something he will ever be able to stop doing since he has probably been getting away with it for his entire playing career, but if it is indeed correctable then he should already be working on it as we speak. Hopefully he shows me some progression in this area because it is really concerning how much air and touch he has on the majority of his passes.

Harris also never really looked comfortable in this game. He had his moments when he completed a few passes in a row, but Wisconsin got enough pressure on him (which, along with his injured ankle, had to contribute to him never getting into a rhythm) to keep him from ever getting into a groove and it definitely showed. He didn’t go through his progressions as well as I would have liked, he stared down his receivers regularly, he didn’t do a good job of buying time in the pocket without scrambling outside of the tackle box, and he looked sloppy throwing on the run when he couldn’t set his feet. He needs to do a better job of keeping his shoulders square to the line of scrimmage even when rolling to his left. That is when you will see right-handed QB’s get a little less accurate if they don’t keep their shoulders square. In my experience it is because their throwing motion will be slightly elongated and their mechanics will therefore be different, meaning the throw won’t be as accurate and won’t have as much zip on it as it would have regularly had if he had set his feet or kept his shoulders square while rolling out.

Overall, Harris has a lot of talent and ability, but he has to work harder on the little things, the fundamentals, if he is going to take big enough strides to be considered a potential NFL starter and an early NFL Draft pick. Right now I’d grade him as a 4th or 5th round selection because of his potential and ability. That alone warrants some consideration in the mid-rounds and if he can be coached up well then he could be well worth the investment. However, he does not look like a NFL starter to me yet. Of course it is very early to be predicting how he will do in the NFL and where he will be drafted because he is going to be a Junior in his second season as the full-time starter, so I realize I am jumping the gun with this. I just feel obligated to state where I think he is as far as his progression as a QB, and in my opinion he is still rather raw and needs developing. Hopefully he stays through his Senior season so he can get as much experience as possible before moving on to the NFL. I have to say, I am intrigued by some of his ability and I really hope he works on putting more zip and less touch on some of his passes this year. Hopefully he takes some significant strides in his second season as a starter.

If Cooper can come back from his serious knee injury healthy then he could still be an impact player in the NFL.

One other player I knew I had to take notes on was Graig Cooper, who was a junior running back for the ‘Canes at the time. As soon as you see him touch the ball you can tell that this kid is fast. He flies around the field, has great acceleration and great burst to hit holes, seams, anything. He definitely has potential as a game-changing running back in the NFL. The tragic part about this was that he suffered a very serious knee injury in this game in the 2nd half on a rather run of the mill kick-off return. In fact, if he hadn’t suffered the injury he could have potentially scored on the play, though that is purely my own speculation. I don’t have much of an update on his rehab obviously, but I read that he has not yet been cleared to begin running as of early April. Hopefully he has made progress since then, but the fact remains that this was a very serious injury, and I would be pretty surprised if he was 100% during his senior season, which is disappointing for him and for his fans (of which I was one) because I was really rooting for him last year. It’s a shame this had to happen to him at such a critical time in his career.

In any event, I still managed to get some notes on him from this game before his injury, and though it would be particularly impressive if he came back to pre-injury form I think he will still have value even if he isn’t just as explosive as he was before he got hurt. He seems to have pretty good vision, and on one particular play that I remember JJ Watt did not stay at home and collapsed to where the run was supposed to go, but Cooper got the ball and immediately cut to the outside to where Watt would normally be and got a nice gain on the play. If he plays next year (which I really hope he will, even if it isn’t a significant amount) I will be interested to see how much of his great quickness and explosiveness he regains as he gets closer and closer to 100%. Hopefully he comes back as strong as can be expected, and I will be carefully monitoring his progress as more information becomes available. I’ll keep you all posted naturally.

Hankerson made this incredible one-handed grab late in the game. I know he has reliable hands, but if he can show this kind of concentration even on routine catches he will be an early NFL Draft pick.

Harris’ primary receivers on the ‘Canes are Leonard Hankerson, LaRon Byrd and Travis Benjamin, which is a pretty nice trio of receiving targets. I didn’t get a lot of notes on them in this game, though I have been impressed with each of them at different times when I have seen them. Frankly, Harris didn’t give them a lot of catchable balls in this game so it was hard to find times to take notes on them, but when I saw them catch passes they all impressed me. Hankerson had a great one-handed catch late in the game and made another catch or two with his hands which was nice to see. Byrd, as far as I can tell from my notes, didn’t make a catch without catching the ball away from his body which was great to see. And Benjamin has always been good for big chunks of yardage and a lot of separation, and he nearly pulled off a terrific 3rd down catch along the sidelines on Miami’s last ditch attempt after they recovered an onside kick. I am excited to see how all three progress this season, and I think that if Harris continues to improve and if Miami’s offensive line holds up they could have a very explosive offense on their hands. I am excited to see them all play.

Orlando Franklin, Miami’s left tackle in this game, is going to receive mixed reviews from me. I heard rather frequently last year that he looked good filling in for Jason Fox, Miami’s very reliable left tackle who got hurt during his senior season before he left for the NFL. However, he looks more like a left guard to me than a left tackle, though he will have ample opportunity to prove me wrong during his senior campaign. He doesn’t look very quick out of his stance, and he seemed to struggle with Schofield and Watt versus the pass and Watt gave him some trouble with his quickness off the ball versus the run as well. Overall, he just didn’t seem athletic enough to handle Schofield, Watt or Chris Borland, a linebacker who will occasionally play with his hand in the dirt on obvious passing downs. I don’t know if he was quite prepared to play left tackle last season, so hopefully he will look more comfortable on the outside as a senior when he is preparing to play the position. I will definitely be paying attention to him this year.

Bailey has a lot of potential and natural athletic ability, but I am not a believer yet. He needs to get stronger versus the run and improve his hand usage before I buy him as a potential 1st round pick.

On the defensive side of the ball Miami naturally has some talented players, but Allen Bailey is definitely one of the more highly touted players on the roster. He has drawn comparisons to Justin Tuck because of his versatility to play defensive tackle and defensive end, though I think he mainly played defensive end in this game. However, I can’t say I was entirely impressed with him in this game. He had a sack where he got a nice bull-rush on Josh Oglesby, shed his block and wrapped Tolzien up for a sack, but he was also blocked effectively in the run game by Garrett Graham, Lance Kendricks and Oglesby multiple times. That was particularly alarming because a DE/DT ‘tweener should be strong enough with good enough hand usage to man-handle 95% of TE blocks. I can understand getting blocked effectively by Graham a time or two because he has a good reputation as a run blocker (even if I think he gets away with holding rather regularly). But he got blocked effectively by Graham multiple times one on one, by Kendricks multiple times, and got blocked one on one effectively by Josh Oglesby versus the run. That was pretty shocking, and it really made me question him as a prospect. Sure, he can get after the passer, but if he can’t defend the run or shed blocks in the trenches then his value as a prospect will be significantly lower to me. He’s getting a lot of positive pub right now, but I am definitely not a believer in Bailey as of today. He has another year to show me what he can do, but he needs to show me a lot more ability versus the run for me to think he will be the quality player everyone else seems to think he will be.

One player I saw flash some impressive ability was Olivier Vernon, a freshman defensive end on Miami. He didn’t get a lot of playing time as a freshman, but he absolutely tossed Gabe Carimi like a rag-doll on a run play and got a great TFL. He didn’t make any other plays as good as this one in the game that I noticed, but he sure did flash some ability on this play. I have high hopes for him in his career, and I think that he will show some substantial growth as a sophomore. I am very interested in seeing him play this season, he is definitely a sleeper for the DE position. Hopefully he breaks out and makes me look smart!

Harris has 1st round ability, and he is one of my favorite draft elligible corners this year. (Photo/Jeffrey M. Boan)

Finally, one player that I am a big fan of on Miami’s defense is their corner Brandon Harris. He was only a sophomore last season but he managed 15 pass deflections and two interceptions on the year. I watched the Miami-FSU game early in the year and I immediately noticed him. He just makes big plays whenever I watch him. There was one particular play against Wisconsin when Harris got beaten, I believe it was by Garrett Graham underneath, and he turned upfield and I thought it was a certain touchdown. But Harris didn’t give up on the play and he came up behind Graham and as he began to wrap him up he punched the ball out just before he crossed the goal line. Miami recovered the ball in the end zone for a touch-back and Miami stayed in the game, all because Harris didn’t give up on this play and forced the fumble. I think he is going to end up declaring after his junior season and he is going to be a high draft pick if he plays well this year in my opinion. He is definitely one of my favorite draft-eligible corners, even if he doesn’t support the run as well as I might like. Definitely keep an eye out for Harris next season, I think he is going to break out even more than he did last year.

That just about concludes the notes I have for the Miami Hurricanes. Check out my blog post below for my write-ups on the Wisconsin players I took enough notes on to get a feel for their ability as a player. Hopefully you enjoy this post and my other posts to come. Thanks for reading!

–Tom